I have just come across an interesting and worthwhile initiative, one that is certainly pertinent to the topics normally discussed on this blog: a call for papers issued by the journal Feminism & Psychology for an envisioned Special Feature on ‘Young Feminists’. The guest editors of the special feature issue (Rachel Liebert, Lucy Thompson, and Virginia Braun) are inviting short contributions (1000-2000 words) by ‘young people who are doing feminisms at, on, or, across borders of disability, nation, race, class, gender, sex and/or sexuality, in academia and/or in activism, and at scales ranging from the intra-psychic to the global.’
I am not sure how ‘young’ will be defined exactly. Is a young feminist someone who is under a specific age (30? 35? 41?) or would the editors also consider ‘young’ those individuals who have started their academic/scholarly/research/writing life only at a later stage, as is often the case especially for women in the global South? It seems as if the editors, rather than fixing the terms of inclusion/exclusion in advance, are leaving this issue open for discussion; one of the questions posed in the formulation of the call for papers is this: ‘What exactly is a “young feminist”, anyway?’
What especially piqued my interest about this call was the mention of North-South dynamics. Firstly, the editors write that, ‘compelled in part by our own involvement as “young feminists” in historical and emerging movements of anti-neoliberal protests, scholarship and revolution, disgust at the ongoing ease of violences against marginalized genders, and desire for a space that witnesses how feminisms are taken up in the global South as well as (or perhaps in spite of) the global North, we would like to build a transnational collection of reflexive pieces that documents how diverse feminisms are being – and could be – done by young people across the globe given contemporary conditions of repression and resistance.’
Secondly, they make the following commitment: ‘All contributions have to be subject to the usual peer-review process; this will be done with sensitivity to, and defiance against, the potential for Western gatekeeping.’ This, of course, is a huge undertaking. Such forms of gatekeeping are often (perhaps most frequently even) not enacted deliberately or consciously; and thus the exact nature of the ‘sensitivity’ and ‘defiance’ that is required has to be very clearly determined and strategically employed – lest the commitment remains at the level of mere ‘good intentions’.
Nevertheless, this is certainly an excellent initiative, and I hope that many ‘young feminists’ from the global South will submit papers; and that they will challenge not only Northern notions and traditions of feminism, but Northern definitions and expectations of ‘the young’ as well!